Four community organisations in Plymouth will benefit from reductions in energy bills and lower carbon emissions thanks to a clean energy project between Plymouth Energy Community (PEC), Plymouth City Council and SailGP, the fastest race on water which is returning to Britain’s Ocean City, home of the UK’s first National Marine Park, for the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix on July 30 and 31.

The project reflects PEC’s commitment to creating a fair, affordable zero-carbon energy system and will see PEC donate more than 100 solar panels to community organisations from an old school building that is due to be demolished.    

The organisations benefitting from this initiative were identified following a consultation process by PEC with local community groups to establish their compatibility.  The installation of the panels will be funded by a grant from SailGP, which has an ambition to be powered entirely by clean energy by 2025 and works with host venues and key stakeholders to promote clean energy initiatives and sustainable solutions in the places where its events take place.

It means 18 panels (4.5 kW) will be installed at Snapdragons, a newly established community interest company (CIC) which was set-up to bring communities together through nature.

20 panels (5 kW) will go to Nudge Community Builders, a CIC which aims to regenerate buildings in Stonehouse for the benefit of the local community.

65 panels (16.25 kW) will be installed at Plymstock Albion Oaks Rugby Club in Horsham, which runs men and women’s teams and delivers training sessions to children, starting from the age of two.

As part of the project, new panels (25 kW) will also be installed at the Argyle Community Trust which uses football and the reach of the club to inspire, engage and help people of all ages to achieve their full potential. 

The planning and installation process has already begun and it is expected that a number of the installations will be completed in advance of the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix which will take place in Plymouth on July 30 and 31.  Tickets for the event are on sale now at

Alistair Macpherson, Chief Executive of PEC said: “Through our partnership with SailGP we have been able to help four community organisations to gain the benefits of clean green solar power, reducing their bills and saving carbon. Emissions are still rising, the impacts of the cost of living crisis and climate change are being felt, so we need to accelerate and scale up our response.  Being able to generate clean energy is an opportunity that we have an obligation to our children to grab with both hands., this is a great example of local partners coming together to make that happen”

Sail GP’s Sustainability and Impact Project Manager, Rosie Gosling said: “Having a positive impact in the community, supporting projects that promote sustainability and showcasing that sailing can be a force for good is a critical part of our mission at SailGP. 

“Working with the PEC on this project is a great example of how we can combine resources and expertise to create sustainable solutions and deliver tangible, clean energy benefits to people and communities in the cities where our events take place.”

The President of Plymstock Albion Oaks Rugby Club, John Dobson, added: “Our electricity bill is one of the club’s largest outlays and we had been looking for some time at ways we could reduce it, particularly in the current environment of soaring energy costs.  Thanks to the support from PEC and SailGP the club will be able to benefit it from this initiative which we plan to use to provide hot water for the showers. It ought to significantly reduce our energy bills and free up money for us to invest in other areas of the club that will bring benefits to our members.”

Councillor Pat Patel, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Leisure and Sport said: “We’re delighted to have supported this initiative to happen through Plymouth Energy Community and SailGP. As home to the UK’s first National Marine Park our ambition is for Plymouth to achieve carbon-neutral status by 2030, and so initiatives like this which enable community groups to start generating their own solar power are a really positive step forward, and an incredible legacy from the SailGP partnership we have in place.”

Solar Panels